The above graph, released in December 2017, shows Scotland to be the only part of the UK with a strong balance of trade surplus and reveals the South of England to have a major trade deficit which is leading to the massive loan debt we all have to share but, under the headline:
‘Scottish exporters fall at double the UK rate’
the Scotsman, today, went on to say:
‘The number of Scottish businesses exporting has fallen to less than a third, a new survey has found. The latest Business in Britain report from Bank of Scotland shows the number of Scottish firms exporting has dropped to 29%, down eight percentage points from 37% in June 2017. The number of businesses exporting in Scotland has fallen. Across the UK the number of firms exporting dropped four percentage points in the same period to 40%.’ export fall Just under a quarter of Scottish companies (24%) said they have taken a strategic decision not export, a marginal 2% decrease in the past six months from 26% in June 2017. A quarter of firms (25%) said they had decided to focus more on UK trade in light of Brexit.’
You need to read this carefully to see what they’ve done. First, Scotland’s strong balance of trade surplus in 2017 was achieved by 26% of our companies. It’s not the number of companies that matters it’s the total amount earned, and the Scotsman does not have this data. Scotland exports more per capita with 26% of its companies than the UK does with 40% because a relatively small number of companies, exporting Whisky, Gin, Seafood especially Salmon, oil and gas, earn far more than the larger number of smaller UK companies selling cheese or cakes.
Second, the Scotsman inserted this link in the article:
‘READ MORE: Scotland suffers £4 billion export fall’
which is based on 2016 prices when oil was trading at around one-third of its current value. This link is hopelessly out-of-date and potentially misleading – deliberate or just stupid?
Third, the Scotsman is not using measures of actual trade activity but the returns from a Bank of Scotland survey to which only 125 Scottish companies replied. It’s just a sample and quite a small one. See this:
‘As at March 2017, there were an estimated 365,600 private sector enterprises operating in Scotland – the highest figure since the time series began (in 2000).’
So, this article is based on research with an infinitesimally small return rate of just 0.034% which is laughably invalid.
If I was paid to write the kind of shitty propaganda we see in this Scotsman article, I’d have to put two fingers down my throat as soon as I got home.